A Woman Alone: Autobiographical Writings Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which of Bessie's novels is the only one that truly reflects a black South African viewpoint?

2. In old African custom, what were women forbidden to handle?

3. What is the meaning of "didactic" works?

4. Bessie states that the system in South Africa sees blacks as not what?

5. How many years did Bessie live in South Africa?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

The artist, Gladys Mgudlandlu, was extremely popular in South Africa because of her escapism theory. Why does Bessie refer to her as "the exuberant innocent"? Does she think of her and her escapism theory as naïve? Does she see it as not wanting to deal with real issues? Do you think Bessie thought it was wrong of her to encourage the black South Africans to just "sit back and let God deal with it"? Was this just offering them a good excuse to do nothing about their situation? If there was no oppression, do you think that this artist would have been as popular?

Essay Topic 2

In "An unspeakable crime", Bessie expresses her disdain of the Coloured Affairs Department. What are they doing in Port Elizabeth and Capetown that she disagrees with? Describe the actions of the coloureds, whom she feels are accessories to the crime. Are they ashamed of their actions? Should they be? Do you think that they truly don't know their own minds and think that the Coloured Affairs Department knows what's best for their children? Or, do they see the situation for what it is and go along with it because it's the only way to survive?

Essay Topic 3

Oppression stunted and almost obliterated Bessie's creativity. And yet, the musician, Makeba, seemed to revel in it. Why do you think it would affect two people so differently? Is it a question of passion? Does it create more passion for some and less for others? Do you think that Makeba's passion for liberation fueled her in a creative sense? Did she use the situation to her own advantage? Did Bessie's avoidance of anything liberatory or revolutionary deny her this? Had she been more liberal, might she have been able to write?

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